PhD Project: Redox Biocatalysis in Deep Eutectic Solvents (Self Funded)

Job Description

The studies of enzyme action in environmentally friendly DES that have taken place to date have involved lipases and to a lesser degree glycosidases. Redox reactions in DES have received relatively little attention [Benworth, 2021; Aranda, 2020]. The huge potential to explore the activity of redox enzymes in eutectic mixtures is the focus of this project. The initial part of the project will focus on the use of amine oxidases and will subsequently extend to use of alcohol dehydrogenases. The conversion of an amine to the corresponding aldehyde is synthetically useful in organic chemistry provided the enzyme can utilise a wide range of substrates. The use of DES along with catalysis at higher temperatures (due to DES stabilisation of enzymes) can lead to enhanced “promiscuity” of enzyme active sites thereby facilitating the use of a wide range of substrates [Brogan, 2018]. Dehydrogenases have similarly been neglected due to their need for expensive cofactors although some examples have been reported [de Santis, 2020]. These enzymes can work in tandem to synthesise specific chemicals enantioselectively.
Skill-sets: Protein engineering and Enzyme Mutagenesis; Computational modelling; Redox biocatalysis.

References:
Aranda C, de Gonzalo G. Biocatalyzed Redox Processes Employing Green Reaction Media. Molecules. 2020;25(13):3016. Published 2020 Jul 1. doi:10.3390/molecules25133016
Benworth B. Hansen, Stephanie Spittle, Brian Chen, Derrick Poe, Yong Zhang, Jeffrey M. Klein, Alexandre Horton, et al., Deep Eutectic Solvents: A Review of Fundamentals and Applications Chemical Reviews 2021 121 (3), 1232-1285.
Brogan, A.P.S., Bui-Le, L. & Hallett, J.P. Non-aqueous homogenous biocatalytic conversion of polysaccharides in ionic liquids using chemically modified glucosidase. Nature Chem 10, 859–865 (2018).
P. De Santis, L. Meyer and S. Kara , The rise of continuous flow biocatalysis – fundamentals, very recent developments and future perspectives, React. Chem. Eng., 2020, 5, 2155.

Student requirements for this project
min. 2.1 BSc in a Biological Science

Self-Funded (Scholarship not available. Fees & Materials to be paid by the student. Materials costs not significant)

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest (www.dit.ie/media/documents/study/postgraduateresearch/EOI%20Form.doc) and email it to [email protected]